This Swiss have taken touring around Australia to another level with their luxury apartment on wheels.
When most of us think about doing the big lap, we think about loading up the wagon or ute with a bunch of camping gear, enough clothes to handle all weather conditions and maybe invest in a camper trailer for a bit more comfort over the coming months. Rene and Brigitte Schoch, however, have taken that exact plan and turned it up to eleven. Not wanting to lug a caravan behind them, and not willing to settle for the relatively decreased comfort of a camper trailer, they went looking for something, well, bigger. Arriving on our fair shores in April last year, they’ve spent the last year rolling around the joint with their humungous Man truck and German-built slide-on camper on the back. Take a look at this thing and tell us it doesn’t make your own touring set-up look a little underwhelming… I’m seriously considering burning my swag.
Man 4X4 trucks make even an F-250 look a touch anaemic. Massive solid axles with bags out the back and leaves up front, diff lockers, over 40in of rubber and a payload that would make a road train driver raise their eyebrows in appreciation. While they’re not exactly designed for tight technical trails, for outback touring these things would eat up the kays better than Clive Palmer at a buffet.
And that’s just what this one has done. Rene told us that he’s gone through about ten-grand in diesel since he’s been here, which may sound like a lot, but keep in mind they’ve been all over the country and see a lot of out of the way places. And hey, it’s cheaper than paying rent.
Powered by a 6.9L turbo diesel straight-six pumping out 184kW and 1000NM of torque, there’s no shortage of power, or gearing, on tap, and despite the rigid axles and leaf suspension, there are two air suspension seats in the cab that make the ride softer than a bloke with a man bun. The 12-speed auto uses a simple twist dial to engage, so it’s actually fairly easy to drive once you’re used to the dimensions and the fact that you’re sitting about thirteen feet in the air. Off-road wheel placement is fairly easy too with the cab-over body. Simply put your bum over where you want the driver’s side wheel and you’re set.
With all that said, the truck itself is actually fairly stock. Rene didn’t want to modify things too much because it simply wasn’t needed – he wanted a tourer, not a rock crawler – but don’t worry, there’s plenty more to this thing than simply being huge. Read on…
Yep, I’m talking about that camper. Imagine for a sec one of those luxury studio apartments overlooking the River Seine in Paris, or Central Park in New York, you’d expect it to be pretty swanky right?
You get the same feeling stepping up into this camper that you would walking through the front door of one of those places. ‘Neat’ doesn’t even begin to cover it. It’s cleaner than a dentist’s surgery and comfier than the Playboy Mansion. Camping out of this thing can’t really be called camping… or even glamping, it’s more like pulling up in remote Central Australia and having a five-star resort show up right behind you.
Heating and cooling? Yep. Sink and oven? Yep. Full bathroom and shower? Yep. Dinette, massive bed, full sound system, more storage than a warehouse? Yep, yep, yep and yep.
It really is mind blowing to step inside this thing, and full credit to Rene and Brigitte, after a year of cruising through the Kimberley, the deserts, a bunch of the Top End and just about everywhere else you can think of, it still looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor. We even broke out the black light to confirm a suspicion and sure enough, we couldn’t find a single spec of dust. Meanwhile our swags need quarantined and fully fumigated after a single weekend away… way to show us up guys.
After just shy of 12 months on the road, the Schochs are thinking about heading back to Europ in the next few weeks, and yep, they’ll be shipping their left-hooker Man camper home in a container… Hmm, imagine cruising the Swiss Alps in this bad boy!